Eaves gets an unexpected call

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

PITTSBURGH -- Patrick Eaves' phone rang in his hotel room Monday and on the other end of the line was Colby Armstrong.

The Penguins winger wanted to make sure Eaves was all right after Armstrong delivered a crushing blow to the Senator in the second period of Ottawa's Game 3 win on Sunday.

While Eaves wasn't able to suit up for Game 4 last night, Armstrong wanted Eaves to know he didn't intend to cause an injury when they collided at the side of the net.

Eaves was taken off the ice on a stretcher. CBC reported he had a concussion, but the Senators have refused to confirm those reports. The club is calling it a head injury, saying Eaves is day-to-day.

"It was a tough play. You don't really expect the right winger to come down like that," said Eaves, who watched replays of the incident. "I spoke with (Armstrong), we kind of know each other from before. It was a tough hockey play.

"I'm good friends with Ryan Malone and I know my brother (former Penguins winger Ben Eaves) knows Armstrong. He called and we talked. I really appreciated the gesture he made. It says a lot about him as a person."

Eaves didn't believe it was a dirty hit. He doesn't agree with the opinion that hits like Armstrong's have to be taken out of the game.

"It was just a hard hit and it's part of hockey and it's unfortunate that I got hurt out of it," said Eaves. "It's a contact sport. People get hurt when they get hit. I'm not really focused or whether it's part of the game.

"I'm just happy with the way the team responded after I did get hit by showing full support.

"We're more focused on trying to win this series, than trying to get back at people. You've got to look at the bigger picture here. This is definitely one of the hardest series that I've been in personally."

Eaves said he's doing well. He confirmed he was knocked out by the blow, but didn't give any indication when he might be back in the lineup. He's being monitored closely by club doctors.

"I feel lot better than (Monday)," said Eaves. "It's kind of a day-to-day thing. I'm going to go by what the doctors tell me every day. I'll be back as soon as I can. You get headaches obviously, but that's about it."

OFF THE GLASS: Senators coach Bryan Murray warned yesterday with the salary cap in place, teams are going to have a tough time keeping their players and believes fans have to get used to it. He said the Sabres will be a team in transition next year because they'll have a difficult time keeping all their players -- especially with C Chris Drury and C Daniel Briere both scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on July 1. "There's no question that teams like Pittsburgh are going to face a dilemma in keeping their players. The Buffalo Sabres will face it next year," said Murray. "We just happened to be one of the first teams to lose a number of quality players because of the salary cap. You have to make changes and you hope you can add the right kind of character to your team to give you a little different look, if you don't win. I think we've done that." ... With Eaves out of the lineup, LW Oleg Saprykin made his playoff debut in Game 4. Saprykin was a healthy scratch for the first three games ... Asked yesterday about the Senators' playoff history, Murray replied: "There's only one team that wins a year. The Carolina Hurricanes won last year and I don't think they're playing this year (in the playoffs)." ... Not only has Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish been following the Senators around, pro scout Charlie Huddy was in the Ottawa press box for the first two games of the series. It's expected Oilers GM Kevin Lowe will make a pitch for Ottawa D Wade Redden in the off-season. He has one year left on his contract at $6.5 million US.


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